What pet owners should know about CBD

CBD, or cannabidiol, has become a popular supplement for humans and pets in the last few years. Many claims are made purporting a variety of benefits, from pain control to anxiety treatment. Current, but very limited, research suggests possible uses for pain and seizure control in dogs, with a relatively wide safety margin.

What is generally not advertised are the murky legal issues surrounding this drug, and the wide variations in quality and safety of products on the market. Neither federal nor Minnesota state law allows CBD to be sold as a supplement, but little to no enforcement seems to be taking place at this time. Because of this, none of the products sold will have undergone oversight by the Minnesota Department of Health or any other governmental body. This means a product may contain only a fraction or none at all of the advertised drug, and could also contain unwanted microbial, chemical and pesticide contaminants.

Pet owners should be cautious when considering use of a cannabidiol product. The label should be checked for a common artificial sweetener called xylitol that is extremely toxic to dogs. CBD can alter the metabolism of many commonly used veterinary prescription drugs, including fluoxetine, gabapentin, ketoconazole and phenobarbital. Regular use may also alter the effects of common anesthetic drugs. One of the recent studies has found that CBD can impact the liver and cause an elevation in a liver enzyme called alkaline phosphatase in dogs.

So when you are walking down the supplement isle of your local pet store, please consider some of these factors before experimenting with your pet’s health.

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